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Edward Snowden slips away

Light shines through a cabin window on seat 17A, the empty seat that an Aeroflot official said was booked in the name of former CIA technician Edward Snowden, shortly before Aeroflot flight SU150 takes off from Moscow to Havana, Cuba, Monday, June 24, 2013. Snowden, who has admitted to leaking National Security Agency secrets, was expected to fly from Russia to Cuba and Venezuela en route to possible asylum in Ecuador, but AP reporters on the flight never saw him get on board. (AP Photo/Max Seddon)

Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker, was able to leave Hong Kong on a commercial jet on Sunday… the authorities just waved him through.

CBS’ Correspondent Major Garrett wondered why, “Did Hong Kong make an independent judgement about Edward Snowden and wanting to get itself out of the international spotlight? Or did the government in Beijing instruct Hong Kong to send a signal to the United States?”

Why would Hong Kong not help us arrest Edward Snowden?

One possible reason may be that before Snowden took off, the South China Post published more of his allegations about the extent of the NSA’s snooping: that it intercepted potentially billions of Chinese text messages; hacked into the underwater fiber optic cables that connect China with the rest of the world; and attacked the computers at Tsinghua University in Beijing – which specializes in cutting-edge internet technology.

Now, let’s imagine for a moment that the tables were turned: that a whistleblower from China showed up, say, in Hawaii, and revealed that the Chinese had successfully hacked into our communications, and even had access to most of the research files at, say, MIT.

Let’s imagine further that China explained that the hacking had been approved by a Chinese court whose rulings are all legal, but secret and that China has a right to punish those who betray the inner workings of its secret courts.

Would we turn him over to his home country? Or would we look the other way while he quietly boarded an airplane on a weekend.

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